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Lawyers in India can’t advertise their services

In a public notice last week, the Bar Council of Delhi said that lawyers contravening Bar Council rules would be prosecuted under The Advocates Act, 1961.

In a public notice, the Bar Council of Delhi said that it had issued notices of misconduct to lawyers publishing advertisements on social media, including on Facebook and WhatsApp. The notice also said that lawyers contravening Bar Council rules would be prosecuted under The Advocates Act, 1961. 

Rules in India do not allow advocates to publicise their services. Subsection 1(c) of Section 49 of The Advocates Act, 1961 (General power of the Bar Council of India to make rules) empowers the Bar Council of India to make rules on the standard of professional conduct and etiquette to be observed by advocates. 

An Advocate shall not work or advertise, either directly or indirectly, whether by circulars, advertisements, personal communications, interviews not warranted by personal relations, furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments or procuring his photograph to be published in connection with cases in which he has been engaged or concerned. 

An advocate who contravenes these Rules can be prosecuted under Section 35 of The Advocates Act, 1961. Under this Section punishment of advocates for misconduct, a state Bar Council has the following powers to dismiss the complaint, cancel the licence of the advocate, suspend the advocate from practice for a limited period, and remove the advocate’s name from the state roll of advocates.  

The Allahabad High Court has issued show-cause notices to online portals carrying out advertisements and soliciting Lawyers. The Court deemed it to be contempt of Court as it last year issued strict directions to refrain from such activities. 

The Court, in its order issued the refraining order as Rule 36 and 37 by the Bar Council of India under the Advocates Act, 1961, prohibits advertising, touting and solicitation of work by lawyers.

The interim directions were issued in a writ petition in the case of Yash Bharadwaj v. Union of India where restraining online portals like myadvo, justdial etc from soliciting work on behalf of Lawyers.  

It was contended by the petitioner that since no rules have been prescribed to regulate the glaring advertisement by the practising Advocates, individual Lawyers are taking recourse to advertising themselves which is lowering the integrity of the entire community of Lawyers in the eyes of the public.

He further submitted that Lawyers enlisted with such websites/portals are not their employees because it was the case, then they would not have been entitled to practice 

The Bar Council of India, amid the hearing, had informed the Court that a five members Committee was constituted to look into the complaints of the Petitioner and the case is still pending to pass the judgment. 

Vanshika Jaiswal
Vanshika Jaiswal

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